THOUGHTS & COMMENTS
1Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith,
giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; (1Tim 4:)
Man does not understand God. But we should. We are like God. We know this because God said He fashioned us in His own image. Therefore if we take the time to understand ourself, we then will understand God.
For instance; God is a Father. This is a role He has taken on for Himself, and He has told us so often in His Word.
As a Father God demands He receive from us that which we earthly fathers want from our children. In this consideration we must be careful that we do not reverse the roles. We as fathers look upon God from the child's point of view. By doing so we misinterpret what God expects of us. And this is exactly what we do - try to understand God through an upside-down mirror.
I'm sure you know someone like the person I have just described. Perhaps there's someone in your family like this. Perhaps it's even you who is the needy one.
Some people take to this role-reversal fairly naturally. After the first two children are half-way grown they tend to figure out what they are doing wrong in the realm of child rearing, and life begins to run a little smoother for everyone.
There are others, however, who do not take so well to this role-reversal and continue to demand that everyone, including their children, cater to their wants and demands. These people tend to find life difficult, blaming everyone for their problems, and find people tend to shy away from them.
God is the Patriarch. He is the One who the entire family goes to for council and wisdom. As Patriarch God's Word is not to be questioned, but obeyed. We, as fathers in our own realm understand this principal. We do not want the child, who has no idea whatsoever what they are doing to back-talk or disobey our orders. We know there is a reason God said to respect your parents, and that those who don't will be stoned (Deut 21:20).
Mothers understand full well this principal having to make use of the placebo in raising children. When a baby, for instance, cries for her bottle, but the bottle is either not handy or not appropriate for the child because it is not feeding time, she gives the baby a "Pacifier." the baby is now content because she got what she wanted as far as she is concerned, but is in fact receiving no nourishment whatever.
As the child grows a bottle will no longer pacify her, she now requires a candy bar, or later a dress, or a telephone of her own, or a computer, and eventually a new car and a college education.
Pacifiers, thereby placebos, provide that which a person wants, but avoids that which they need. Using the above illustrations as a for instance; the baby did not need a bottle, she needed attention. The older child did not need a candy bar, or a computer, or a car, she needed discipline, and thereby a good spanking.
This practice accomplishes several things in one fell swoop. The patient is "healed." The patient is no longer bothering the doctor. The doctor's bank account grows while having to do very little in order to fill it. And the doctor, having given away nothing, has a patient that believes he is generous having given that patient a bottle of expensive medicine.
If the test is successful, the first group will have been cured, or have at least made improvements. And, of course, the second group will have either seen no improvement or died because they were taking the placebo instead or the real medicine of another kind they would have been taking instead of the sugar pill they believed was real medicine.
That parent who supplies the baby with a placebo might be pacifying a child who is in desperate need of nutrition or affection. And the teenager who is given everything they want instead of the discipline they need my well turn out to be a spoiled brat at best, and a criminal or politician at the worst.
The common folk of the day (contrary to today) were not ignorant of the law themselves. Every Jew was expected from the time of birth to learn the Book and the Laws. As children, until about the age of twelve when they were "Bar mitzvahed," that is, became a responsible adult, they were to attend school, usually at the local Synagogue, where they learned to read the Torah and where it was read regularly. Then on the Sabbath they were to attend church. And during the week, when not in school or learning a career, usually from their father or an uncle, they were being taught by their mother the Ways of the Lord.
This nation, that is the US of A, did the same thing from its foundation. In order to make sure everyone was able to understand the Bible, the communities made sure two things were established if nothing else. Those two things were first a church, and second a school, which may have been held in the church building if nothing else had yet been provided.
The textbook that was used in the schools was the Bible, and the purpose of learning to read was the Bible. Things have changed just a tad from those early days, as can be seen by observing the effectiveness and the safety of our schools today in contrast to that of the past.
"Shore can. Jus' go up a piece till you gets to a bright red barn, hang a right fo' 'bout a mile or so, till you sees a big oak tree next to a telyphone pole, lean left an' folly the gravel road til you runs up on a crossroads, don't go neither left nor right but shally on through fo' 'bout ten mile an' you'll run smack dab into' Paridise. Cain't miss it."
"No problem a' tall. Have a fine day the two a' ya's."
"Not a left, stupid, the man said to turn right."
"No he didn't. He said turn right at the oak tree."
"No, no. He said go straight through at the tree."
"I know what I'm doing. I'm going to make a left here."
God has not intended us to be lost, He wants us to find our way. This is how He expressed it:
And this is so today as well. Christians by the millions remain intentionally ignorant of the desires of God by misrepresenting the Bible, directing it toward pleasing themselves instead of learning to please God through the study of the Word.
The New Testament is not instructions to the World on how to reach the churches; it is instructions to those who call themselves Christians on how to reach God.
Christians should have just one direction - upward. And the only way to take that journey upward is by following the instructions of the One who knows the way, the Holy Spirit.
"My Pastor says the same thing, only he says you have to have the Holy Ghost too."
"Holy Ghost? What's that?"
"I don't know. It's something my Pastor says you get when you get baptized."
"I was baptized, so I guess I've got that ghost thing too."
"I guess so. My Pastor says were supposed to follow Jesus, too, if we want to go to heaven."
"Follow Jesus? How do you do that? He's dead, isn't He?"
"I think so, but my Pastor says He raised up from the dead and is in heaven right now waiting for us, if we follow Him."
"My Pastor says we're supposed to take Jesus with us, so I wear this cross everywhere I go. I wonder if that's the same thing as following Him?"
"I suppose so. I don't know of any other way. My Pastor says we're supposed to pray all the time too. Do you pray?"
"Oh, sure. I pray before I eat and at church, and sometimes even before I go to bed, if I think of it."
"I wish I was as dedicated as you are. I forget a lot. My Pastor says we should read the Bible every day too. I do that pretty regular, sometimes ten to fifteen minutes a day. I try to get in a chapter a day. Some of the chapters are short, so it doesn't take very much time out of my day. I get pretty busy some times. You know how it is."
"I sure do. I don't read as much as you do. You're a loyal servant. Maybe all that reading you do makes up for the times you don't pray."
"Yeah, maybe. You said 'servant,' what did you mean?"
"My Pastor says that all us Christians are servants to God. I don't know what it means, but the word sounds nice so I use it a lot."
"I don't know. My folks have a servant. I don't think I would like to be one of those. I know you said you don't read the Bible very much, but do you understand it when you read it?"
"Not very much. Some things I can understand a little bit like Jonah and the whale and David and Goliath. Most of it I kind of skip over because it gets boring and I don't know what it's saying anyway."
"I don't see how any one can understand any of that stuff. It might as well have been written in some kind of foreign language. Besides, my Pastor says that all that Old Testament stuff was for the Jews and doesn't have anything to do with us anyway."
"My Pastor says the same thing, only he also says that there's a whole bunch of New Testament stuff that we're not supposed to do either, like doing works and trying to be more than we already are. He says that God accepts us the way we are and that's just what we're supposed to do."
"My Pastor says the same thing. I read a book once that says like, I'm OK, You're OK," or something like that. There's a lot of books in the world like that, you know."
"I have a friend who's a Catholic. She has to be real careful what she does. She prays all the time and fiddles with beads and makes sure she confesses every little thing she does to her Pastor or whatever. They really have it rough."
"Maybe you should get her to come to your church and then she could get to heaven without having to do all that stuff."
"I tried, she just won't come. She shows me a bunch of places in the Bible where it says we're supposed to do a bunch of things like pray a lot, be extra good, and obey God and things like that. I think they use a different Bible than we do, because if all that stuff was in our Bible my Pastor would have told us."
"Yeah, mine too. It's a good thing our Pastor understands all those things and tells us what they mean. This being a Christian thing would be really hard if we didn't have him to tell us what we're supposed to do and what we're supposed to know."
"I know what you mean. My Pastor must be a real smart man and really in touch with God to know all those things about the Bible."
"Yes, God must be mighty proud of my Pastor and feel lucky He has such a fine man working for Him."
The Catholic church strives to produce an obedient servant appropriate for the service of God as they see it.
The "cults" work diligently to turn their followers into strong, hard working Christians in their own right.
But many of the Protestant churches take every opportunity to convince their carnal, Spiritual-infant members that they are full-fledged, ready-for-Heaven Saints waiting for Jesus to come pick them up in a cloud, regardless of how backslidden they have become. The churches who claim to possess and attest to God's Truth have watered down the Message until it contains so little nourishment that a maggot would starve to death on it. Yet these same Ministers of the Word consider themselves God's spokesmen, condemning all the other churches, including the other Protestant churches not in their circle of acceptance, of being "Mislead and doomed to hell."
If you are so dead set on taking the fast road to hell, that certainly is your own business. Who is to stop you. But why are you so set on taking as many trusting lambs with you as you are able?
When you read the Bible, don't you shudder when you read about what God has done to the Israelites who did far less to God's Word than you have?
When you read a passage of Scripture that states the terrible consequences for not diligently following Jesus, even to the death; don't you feel even a tiny bit of guilt when you look into the eyes of your lambs and say: "But Jesus didn't really mean that"?
When you condemn the cults who go door-to-door with their worn out pages of favorite proof verses, don't you get a twinge of conscience when you study your even fewer proof verses that totally contradict the mass of Scripture that proves you are wrong?
When you read in Revelation where Jesus condemns the churches for following the hedonistic lifestyle you preach, do you not recognize yourself? When He speaks of the lukewarm church, what do you think He is talking about? When He says that those who commit abominations and are liars will be thrown into a pit of fire, do you think He is making an exception for you and your church? When He says that only the Overcomers will sit with Him on His throne, and He describes Himself as an Overcomer, do you think He is going to consider those you preach to as Overcomers because they have gotten a little wet and said a few words?
When Jesus says the "Unprofitable Servant" will be cast out, do you truly believe that Jesus doesn't really mean "Servant"?
When Jesus says that five virgins will miss the boat, what do you think He meant? Do you think Jesus didn't really mean "virgins"?
When Jesus talks about the "Babylon" church, do you really believe He means all the churches except yours?
When you read what Jesus told the Scribes and the Pharisees who held their people down with their man-made doctrines and traditions, which were holding the people at a much higher level then you are, doesn't it effect you at all?
Doesn't it bother you when you tell your congregation that what they do is not important, contrary to what Jesus told the rich young ruler about giving up everything and following Him? Or how Jesus said that not only what we do will condemn us, but also what we think of doing? Or when Jesus told us that we must give up our family and everything else that's important to us, take up our cross and follow Him?
Do you think John didn't know what he was talking about when he spoke of loving God and our neighbor? Do you really think there is no work involved in love?
When Jesus said our Works will be judged, and according to our works God will either cast us out, or bring us into His fold; do you think he really didn't mean "Works"?
If the Apostate church, which is to be the end-time church is the church that is going back into the World, that is, making God of less importance and Man more important, then what would you say of your church and your preaching?